Yahoo data breaches: Suspects linked to Russian government will be indicted, report says

Authorities in the U.S. plan to indict four people — some with ties to the Russian government — alleged to have played a role in Yahoo’s two huge data breaches, according to media reports.

One man could be arrested in Canada as early as March 14, while the other three suspects are in Russia, Bloomberg reported.

The U.S. Department of Justice is accusing the four of participating in the hacks, according to the Bloomberg report. The news site based its March 14 article on a single anonymous source said to have been briefed on the matter.

Some of those to be charged have ties to Moscow, the Wall Street Journal reported later on March 14 (paywall). The national security division of the Justice Department and the FBI will announce the charges March 15, the Journal reported, basing its information about the indictments and announcement on unnamed people said to be familiar with the matter.

Yahoo last year revealed it had suffered a 2013 hack of more than a billion user accounts and a 2014 breach of at least a half billion accounts. A subsequent regulatory disclosure revealed the firm knew about the 2014 hack that year, but failed to inform users, investors or the public for nearly two years.

The breaches are the two largest to ever come to light. Stolen was information that according to Yahoo may have included names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, scrambled passwords and security questions and answers.

The breaches spawned more than two dozen class-action lawsuits and reportedly, a Securities and Exchange Commission probe (paywall).

Revelations about the hacks and Yahoo’s response came amid the firm’s sale to Verizon, putting the deal in jeopardy. Verizon ended up knocking $350 million off the price as a result of the breaches, and will pay $4.5 billion, after initially proposing a discount of up to $925 million.

The two companies have said the sale should close between April and June.


Photo: A person walks in front of a Yahoo sign at the company’s headquarters in Sunnyvale. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)


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